The mid-summer rains in Bengaluru brought the city's stormwater drainage system under sharp focus once again after several neighbourhoods in the city reported waterlogging on Tuesday night.
One such neighbourhood was a gated community called Purva Parkridge in the city's Mahadevapura area where as many as 25 houses were flooded following the downpour. It is located close to the Mahadevapura Lake.
"There used to be a channel that helped water flow from here to the lake, which is 200 metres away which crosses the Bagmane (World Technology Centre) property. They have blocked the channel as it inconvenienced them and there is no outlet for the water since then. We are experiencing flooding whenever it rains for 45 minutes," says MGK Menon, a retired engineer, who has lived in the gated community for the last six years.
"There was heavy rain yesterday and around 25 houses were affected. There was nothing we could do but watch the water enter the house," says Menon. Despite calls made to the fire brigade, the people in the gated community said they did not receive help. "When we moved in here, there was a channel that allowed the water to flow out. We used to enjoy the rain with a glass of whiskey. It wasn't the problem that it is now," he adds.
Rant alert.‚ÄĒ Sandhya (@TheRestlessQuil) May 17, 2022
My parents live in a gated community. Over the years Bagmane tech parks have mushroomed around this once quiet area in Mahadevapura. One part of the tech park lies between a lake and the gated community Purva Parkridge; this building came up 5 years ago @BBMPCOMM
Despite repeated attempts, there was no response from the BBMP over the concerns raised by the residents. The story was similar in other parts of the city as lives were disrupted by the torrential downpour on Tuesday night. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) recorded 114 mm rain in Bengaluru city.
The turn of events is no surprise as an audit report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on Bengaluru's stormwater drain (SWD) system found that stormwater drains reduced by over 50% in the last decade.
Speaking to reporters in Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai acknowledged that works to improve Bengaluru‚Äôs ‚Äėrajakaluves‚Äô or stormwater drains are still incomplete. ‚ÄúSince there was a high volume of rainfall, they overflowed. Plus works on rajakaluves are pending. We have released Rs 1,600 crore for the same and the work has begun this year. It is a bottleneck. There are about 20 such bottlenecks in RR Nagar and for this, we have instructed that the work begin,‚ÄĚ he said. Rajakaluve refers to stormwater drains, many of them which connect one lake to another and play a role in draining off the rainwater..
He announced a compensation of Rs 25,000 for those affected by the floods and a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for those killed by disaster. Two labourers were killed while working on the Cauvery V Stage project pipeline at Ullal in the western part of the city. The IMD has said that more rains are in store in the city on Wednesday and Thursday.